Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MIL-SPEC Part 4

Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MILSPEC Part 4

Handling and Accuracy

By Dennis Adler

Pushing authenticity, the Sig Sauer’s WTP is 1:1 with its .45 ACP counterpart, as is the new Air Venturi Springfield Armory 1911 MIL-SPEC. Both guns suffer from white letter safety warnings but have exemplary slide designs with totally authentic factory stampings that match the centerfire models. Additionally, the MIL-SPEC suffers from the S F arrow on the thumb safety, but it’s not alone with models like the Umarex Colt Commander and Air Venturi John Wayne offering the same “help” to those with no idea how to push the safety up and down. And I know I come down hard on this, and I wouldn’t, if every airgun manufacturer did it. Aside from that, both guns have exceptional grips to match their fine finishes, slides and sights.

Getting it right the first time has been the way Springfield Armory and Air Venturi have been working this year with the launch of their new CO2 models. The 1911 MIL-SPEC is the first new one that has resorted to the white lettering, which they had managed to eliminate with the XDM 4.5 and 3.8 models, and the excellent M1 Carbine (plus adding an optional wood stock to make the M1 even more appealing). The white S F arrow on the otherwise correctly-designed thumb safety for the 1911 MIL-SPEC is not uncommon on other CO2 models, and it is not anywhere as bad as other 1911’s out there awash in overstated white graphics and legalese. In fact, the Springfield is as clean as the Sig Sauer WTP in comparison, and the majority of air gunners looking for a new, classically-styled Model 1911 A-1 will agree that we have found a respectably authentic challenger to the Sig Sauer 1911. The WTP has itself played to mixed reviews, not for its capability, but its perfect match to the equally patriotically graphic .45 ACP model. Now, for the record, I like the hard look of the WTP in .45 ACP so much that I came close to purchasing the centerfire model to go with the air pistol. Of course, it is supposed to be the other way around, you buy the air pistol to go with the centerfire gun, and this may well be the case with the Springfield, because the .45 ACP MIL-SPEC model, at a retail of $764, is almost an entry-level gun in price compared with other more feature laden 1911 Springfield Armory models that can run as high as $1,500 to $3,000. With the CO2 version being a 1:1 for the .45 ACP Springfield MIL-SPEC, it is exactly what the Sig Sauer WTP CO2 is to Sig’s .45 Auto. You can’t really say that about many other 1911-style CO2 pistols, so this has obviously become a two man race. read more


Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MIL-SPEC Part 3

Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MILSPEC Part 3

Velocities vary

By Dennis Adler

The competition for the Springfield MIL-SPEC really comes down to one of these four variations of the 1911 as a CO2 model, the first blowback action 1911, the Umarex Colt Commander, the WWII style of 1911 which is represented here by the Air Venturi John Wayne model, and the two most modern of the 1911 CO2 designs, the Swiss Arms 1911 TRS (Rail Gun) and custom Sig Sauer 1911 WE THE PEOPLE, which like the new Springfield is the CO2 understudy to a current .45 ACP model.

You would think that if all these 1911 CO2 models share the same parts internally and variations of the same parts externally, and use the same CO2 BB magazines, that they would all shoot the same and have average velocities that are very close. But there are differences from the sights to the trigger designs and trigger pull weights. All of these can lead to differences in accuracy, as they should, that’s why 1911 sights, triggers, recoil springs, and slide and frame interfaces, have been improved upon over the years for centerfire models. A gun that is based on an early design, like the Tanfoglio Witness, Swiss Arms 1911 A-1, and John Wayne 1911 A-1 WWII commemorative have the oldest design features and those will have an effect on accuracy for most shooters. (I say most because there are some people who can pick up any gun and instinctively hit their target.) read more


Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MIL-SPEC Part 2

Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MILSPEC Part 2

Evolving parts from one design to another

By Dennis Adler

There are two types of blowback action 1911 CO2 models, those that follow the John Browning design and have fully functioning slide and barrel interfaces, removable (drop free) self-contained CO2 BB magazines, and true operating features such as thumb safeties, slide releases, grip safeties and correctly designed SAO triggers. And then there are those that don’t, and use what I call short, short-recoil designs, are not field strippable, have a separate CO2 compartment in the grip frame and load BBs with a stick magazine. However nice they may look from the outside, they are not in the same league with CO2 models like the new Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MIL SPEC. read more


Dennis’ Top 5 Picks

Dennis’ Top 5 Picks

A handful of Historic CO2 models

By Dennis Adler

Back in the 1970s and 1980s Crosman was already building some authentic looking CO2 air pistols based on the then very popular Colt Python models. While long before air pistols with swing out cylinders and BB or pellet loading cartridges, these early CO2 models helped set the wheels into motion for the impressive CO2 wheelguns and semi-autos we have today. (Photo courtesy Blue Book Publications)

It is a nice August afternoon, sunny but not abusively hot, a light breeze and the perfect day to set up some paper targets in the backyard and have some fun shooting an air pistol. If that sounds far and away from my usual “this is a must have training gun” style, it’s because some days you just want to have some fun with no agenda, in fact, this is what air pistols (and air rifles) were meant for. Thanks to a very industrious airgun industry that begins with some very intriguing CO2 air pistols developed in the 1970s and 1980s by Crosman, which were copies of Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Walther models, (with a really heavy emphasis on Colt), the wheels of industry were already in motion for what we see today from Umarex, ASG, Sig Sauer, and others, who build air pistols that not only look and feel authentic, but work in much the same way as the actual centerfire pistols they are based upon. read more


Top vintage military arms

Top vintage military arms

CO2 in War and Peace

By Dennis Adler

When we are talking about copies of legendary military arms as CO2 models, it is not just a gun based on a design, it is a gun copied in detail from an original design like the Umarex Luger P.08 Parabellum and Mauser Broomhandle Model 712. Pictured are the limited edition WWII models. Only the P.08 is currently available.

In the past several years the world of CO2 pistols and rifles has been exposed to military history in ways that airgun enthusiasts could only have dreamed about as little as five years ago. Sure, there have been BB and pellet guns in the past that were based on military arms, like the Crosman Model M-1 Carbine built from 1968 to 1976, as well as a number of military training air rifles manufactured during WWI and WWII (very rare finds today), and more recently the Winchester Model M14 CO2 BB and pellet rifle, introduced in 2012, and of course, the excellent Diana K98 Mauser (under lever cocking) pneumatic pellet rifle. But in the world of blowback action CO2 pistols, rifles, and CO2 BB and pellet cartridge loading revolvers, the period from 2015 to 2019 has been a remarkable one for military arms enthusiasts. read more


The Most Bang For Your Buck Part 2

The Most Bang For Your Buck Part 2

What can $100 buy?

By Dennis Adler

All blowback action models with self contained CO2 BB magazines, but not all exactly equal in design, fit, finish, or performance, yet they all sell for $99.99.

For those of you who own and shoot centerfire pistols, the cost of a day’s ammo at the shooting range can often reach $100, and after you are done, all you have is a lot of empty brass (if you police your brass and reload to save money on ammo) and the satisfaction of honing your target shooting skills and bringing home targets that reflect your day’s efforts. What the blowback action CO2 models in this article do is duplicate that range time, and if you have a safe backyard shooting area or a basement set up with an air pistol range, you don’t even need to leave the comforts of your own home. Dedicated airgun enthusiasts know this and gain the same benefits and satisfaction from target shooting with BBs or pellets as their centerfire handgun counterparts, only at a fraction of the cost. Skills learned with air almost entirely translate to shooting range experience with centerfire and rimfire pistols, more so the latter. A good blowback action CO2 pistol can come close to firing a .22, only with somewhat less recoil and much less noise. A .22 pistol with a sound suppressor is very close to a high performance blowback action CO2 pistol in feel and noise level. Blowback action CO2 models are good for practice, especially all of the models in this article, since they duplicate the look, feel, and operation of their centerfire counterparts. read more


The Most Bang For Your Buck Part 1

The Most Bang For Your Buck Part 1

What can $100 buy?

By Dennis Adler

There are doctors, lawyers, biochemists, engineers, business professionals, retired and active law enforcement, military, and people in all fields of work who have always had an interest in firearms, either by profession, as a hobby, or a recreational sport. That describes a good percentage of Airgun Experience readers, and gun owners or “gun enthusiasts” as a group. Counted into that mix are gun collectors, and you would be surprised how many of them also collect air pistols.

Blowback action models are among the best buys in a quality CO2 pistol because so many of them sell for $100 or less including some of the top rated models like the new Umarex Glock 17, Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE, and Umarex HK USP, as well as established models like the Umarex S&W M&P40 and Swiss Arms P92. Each sells for just $100.

What this column has taught me over the years is that air pistols and actual cartridge-firing handguns (and rifles) are not mutually exclusive; a fairly high percentage of readers own both, and often choose duplicates of cartridge guns they own. But, there are also a fair percentage of airgun owners who do not own actual firearms, and they represent a group I call “airgun enthusiasts.” They were the intended core readership for Airgun Experience but as it turns out, they are not the core; the majority of readers own both. Still, it is the “airgun enthusiast” to whom I am writing most of the time. read more